tv Martha Nussbaum The Monarchy of Fear CSPAN July 28, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
[inaudible conversation][inaudi] [inaudible conversation] >> welcome everyone. i will be welcoming the dr. to the podium in a minute. first please silence yourself ol phone. thank you. after doctor speaks for a bit you can ask questions. there is a microphone over here. we will not be able to get to everyone's question. to lineup here to have a chance. books are available in the cash register.
you can have them sign following the discussion. also grab a copy of our calendar. we have july and august full of incredible events. sums that will be of interest to you. many of them are at our new stores. we have a lot of room to fill our calendar with incredible events. and now to our guest. the distinguished service professor of law and ethics. it's in the philosophy department in chicago where she has been since 1994. she holds 62 honorary degrees. many awards for excellence in teaching. she has written over two dozen books. she was awarded the kyoto prize
and award that is significant to humankind. she has written extensively and eloquently on the politics of emotion. it's in the current work that her decency, alertness and position far above the fray. however successfully it may engage is a very emotional turn these last two years have taken. many a book on donald trump's candidacy, election and presidency have graced the shelves of this bookstore and others. many venture into the subjects of a pop psychology perspective. i have yet to see any book that takes recourse to the ethics.
she writes the most remarkable for its warmth and curious for a book on philosophy. but not for her book, there's an exceeding sense of love and gratitude. academics can be detached from human realities to do good work. that's a risk inherent in academic freedom and tenure. mild commitments and efforts have led me to want to restore to philosophy the wide set of concerns it had in the days of the greeks and romans. some of the emotions in troubled times with love and friendship, with the human lifespan in the hope of a just world. she has done this beautifully. i read a few days ago that i we have been low in the absence of women in stem subjects and seek to change that in the next generation, the representation
of women in microbiology is 20% higher than that of women in philosophy. about 33% of all graduates in the field would be female. doctor is the women philosopher in her area. as an undergraduate of the university of chicago her lecture was an event. it feels much the same tonight apps everyone's presence attest to. i am thrilled that we are able to welcome her in 2010. those ideas have been further developed in the present work. we are honored to welcome her again. [applause]
>> thank you so much. can everyone hear me? thank you so much. that was so sweet and lovely. it's so thrilling to be here in the bookstore where everyone cares about ideas. of course i would come to a bookstore that is where i would want to go. this is the only one that rivals this in terms of the atmosphere is the seminary co-op on this campus. but this one is reaching a broader public. that's great. i want to talk about how i wrote the book and then some ideas in it. i look forward to hearing your questions. on election night 2016 was bright daylight for me in kyoto where i had just arrived for an award ceremony, after a joyful sendoff from my colleagues at home. i was feeling anxious about the divided electric.
yet, reasonably confident that these would be repudiated, although there would be a lot of difficult work ahead to bring americans together. my japanese hosts came in and out of the hotel room, explaining the schedules of various ceremonial events. in the background of the conversations but the foreground of my mind, the election news kept coming in. producing first alarm and then finally, both grief into deeper fear for the country and its people and institutions. i was aware my fear was not balanced or fair-minded, so i was part of the problem is worried about. by the time the election result was clear, i had to go out for my first official meeting at the
office at the foundation. i dressed up in a cheerful suit, fix my hair and try to express happiness and gratitude. i wanted to hug my friends, but they were far away. late that night the combination of political anxiety and jet leg made sleep intermittent. i began thinking and deciding around midnight that my previous work on emotions had not gone deep enough. as i examined my own fear, it dawned on me that fear was the underlying issue. nebulous fierce if using american society. i got a few tentative ideas about how fear is connected to and renders toxic other emotions such as anger, disgust and envy. i almost never work in the middle of the night, i sleep
soundly and usually my ideas come to me sitting on the computer. but jet leg in a national crisis have a way of changing habit. i had a sense of discovery so i went back to sleep with at least a little hope for something to think about. i set myself to write this book, there is a lot of fear in america today. this is mingled with anger, blame and envy. fear too often blocks rational deliberation, poisons hope and impedes cooperation for a better future what is today's fear about? many americans feel themselves powerless, out of control of their own lives. they fear for their future and that of their loved ones.
they fear the american dream in the hope that your children will flourish and do better than you had died and everything is slipping away. these feelings have their basis in real problems. income stagnation, alarming declines in health and longevity of members of this group. automation, outsourcing, and the escalating cost of higher education. at the very time a college degree is required for good employment. but real problems are difficult to sell. their solution takes long hard study in cooperative work toward an uncertain future. it's too easy to convert that sense of panic and helplessness into blame of outsider groups such as him immigrants, racial minorities. they have taken our jobs and are infesting our country.
fear leads to other strategy rather than useful analysis. at the same time, fear runs rampant on people on the left who seek a greater equality and the protection of rights for women and minorities. course these are laudable goals. it does not help to react as if the end of the world is at hand. it's not that the problems are not real and important. fear leads to aggressive other means other than dialogue. my students also often demonize an entire half of the american electorate. these are the last days in a righteous remnant must contend against the forces. we all need to take a deep
breath and recall our history. when i was a little girl, african-americans were being lynched in the south, communists were losing their jobs, women were just beginning to enter universities in the workforce. sexual harassment was the offense that had not even a name yet and no laws to deter. jews could not win partnerships and law firms. gays and lesbians, criminals under law were almost always in the closet. people with disabilities had no right to public space and public education. transgender was a category that had no name. america was far from beautiful. please tell us two things my students need to know and i need to remember. first, the america for which the nostalgic never existed not fully, it was a work in progress. a set of aspirations put in
motion by tough work, cooperation, hope, and solidarity. a just and inclusive america never was and is not yet a fully achieved reality. second, this present moment might seem like a backsliding toward human equality but it is not the apocalypse. it's a time when hope and work can accomplish a lot. on both left and right panic doesn't exaggerate our dangers, it makes it more dangerous than it otherwise would be. it's like a bad marriage in which fear and playing displace discussion of what the real problems are. instead, the emotion seeking over become their old problem. we all remember fdr statement we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
we recently heard obama say democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. roosevelt was wrong if we take his words literally. we had many things to fear in his time such as not season, hunger and social conflict. fear of these evils was rational. to that extent we should not just fear our fear, though we should examine it. obama's more precise statement is right. giving way to fear which means that drifting which is current and refusing skeptical examination is dangerous. we need to think hard about where fear and where it is leading us. you may not convinced so far that it's a deep problem for democratic self-government.
let me imagine some dialogue between myself and the defender of fear. so the defender says, but surely we don't want to distinguish fear. without fear we would be dead. peers useful propelling us into life-saving action. myself i say you're right but fear has a strong tendency to get ahead of us propelling house into antisocial action. i will show you this tendency comes from its evolutionary history and psychological structure. more than other emotion, fear needs careful scrutiny if it is not to turn poisonous. the defender says i don't need to be convinced but i want to know right now why you say fear is it dangerous to democratic self-government. truly democracies are well
advised to consult fear in construction laws and institutions. is in our defensive sensible response? what about our constitution? what the famers guided by fear when there with the bill of rights? they wrote down all the things the british violated were taken from them. fear that similar things would happen in the new nation give good not bad guidance to democracy. it would be stupid to deny that it gives good guidance but your examples are fear filtered by careful deliberation. you have omitted hasty and ill justified military strategies. u.k. cases were on rights run equally bestowed.
we have a habit of scapegoating unpopular people in times of national stress. eugene was thrown in jail for peaceful speeches opposing u.s. involvement in world war i. later, loyal and peaceful japanese americans were in camps. these were cases where fear not only did not lead to rights but actually abridged rights that were established. the same climate of fear provided our courts from seeing this at the time. fear has a way of running ahead. it undermines fraternity, poisons cooperation and makes us two things we are ashamed of later. the defender says once again i look at your arguments and you persuaded me there is a problem but i don't see how large it is.
you use this title, the monarchy of fear and you keep saying that fear poses a problem for democratic self-government. what i don't get is the connection you want to drop between fear and democracy. doesn't threaten all forms of government equally. i say no and man monarchy they d on fear. the fear of the monarchs punishment ensures compliance. fear of outside threats ensures voluntary servitude. fearful people want protection and care. return to a strong absolute ruler in search of that care. in a democracy by contrast, we need to look at one another as equals. this means a horizontal trust
must connect citizens. trust is not just reliance. slaves can rely on a masters brutal treatment but of course they do not trust the master. trust means being willing to be exposed to allow your own future to lie in the hands of your fellow citizens. absolute monarchs don't want or need trust. >> think about a marriage in which the real head of the household is like a monarch, there was not need for trust. spouse and children had to obey. but the marriages to which people aspire today are more balanced requiring reciprocity and trust on both sides. trust is undermined by fear to the extent i see you as a threat to my well-being, i have to protect myself against you and i will strategize rather than
trusting. so to and politics. refusal of trust is happening over the country. why students do not trust another student who voted for trump. they view such people as a hostile force inundating our university. many trump supporters return the compliment seen them as enemies of real people. here's another side to the connection. when people fear fearful they grasp after control. they cannot stand to wait to see how things play out. they need to make other people do what they want to do. when they're not seeking a monarch to protect them they will behave like that themselves trying to control others.
in this way fear erodes the reciprocity that is needed if democracies are to survive. it leads onward to anger which divides on what is most needed is a constructive approach to an uncertain future. so you mentioned anger, why does you have this emphasis on fear. what about anger? shouldn't we worry about that emotion more than fear? people also think that nv is a major threat to democracy. finally, there has been a lot written about the role of disgust and racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination. they said you're entirely right there. the chapters of this book will address these emotions and connections. having worked for many years on each emotion and isolation from another, i've realized that my
previous strategy obscured some important relations. i will try to convince you that fear is primary both genetically and it's because of infection by fear that three other emotions turn toxic and threatened to my chrissy. people strike back but what is that exactly where does it come from? why do people feel that way and under what conditions does it become toxic? this is what we need to ask about. i think they'll be back to fear. d says why the fuss about emotion? the big problems in society are structural and we all need structural solutions which can
be implemented through law whether people like them or not. you don't have to wait for people to become better, more empathetic or self-aware to fix what needs fixing. focusing on emotions could distract us from the work. myself a totally agrees. but loss cannot be enacted or sustained without the hearts and minds of people. in a monarchy that is not the case. all the monarch needs is enough fear for obedience. in a democracy we need love of the good, hope for the future, a determination to confront the corrosive forces of hatred, disgust, and rage which are all fed by fear. the defender is not satisfied and shouldn't be since only assertions have been offered and not arguments or analysis.
still you should have a general sense of where my argument is heading. so then there is a further question more fundamental, why should we turn to a philosopher at this time of crisis? what is philosophy and how could it ever help us? philosophy means many things in the historic traditions of the world. it's not about authoritative pronouncements. it's not about one person claiming to be deeper than others were making wise assertions, it is about the day was socrates the examined life which you know how little we really understand with the commitment to arguments that are rigorous, reciprocal and fear. and with the willingness to
listen to others as equal participants and respond to what they offer. philosophy does not compel or threaten or mock, it does not make assertions. instead it sets up a structure of thought in which you can look at where the listener is free to dispute. socrates questions people in the athenian democracy. he found they have the capacity for understanding and self understanding. plato dramatizes this by showing an illiterate and a presley boy and the boy turns out to be able to come up with geometrical proof of some great complexity. it assumes this basic capacity but also shows that most of us neglected cultivation.
if i military leaders and politicians don't sort out what they think. they rush to action on inconsistent ideas. in that way it invites dialogue and respects the listener. unlike the overconfident politicians questions the philosophical speaker is humble and exposed. their position is transparent and vulnerable to criticism. i say his or her because socrates said he would like to question women if he got the chance if only in the afterlife. plato taught women in his school. socrates was right, to say that his method was closely linked to the democratic self-government in which each person's thought matter. to insist that it made a valuable contribution improving the quality of public
deliberation. he described this as a noble but sluggish horse. and needed the sting of's philosophical questioning to make it up and make it conduct its business better. my book is not one of public policy or economic analysis, crucial as that is it is more general and more introspective. it aims at a better understanding of some of the forces that move us into that extent it offers general direction for action. understanding is the primary goal as his dialogue. it's always practical. philosophers talk to topics related to democracy. we look at political
institutions and laws and what basic entitlements or opportunities all citizens ought to have it a decent society. that is not the primary focus of the book. the other half of my career focused on the nature of the emotions and the role in the search for the good life. i have argued trying on psychoanalytic thought that emotions have an important role to play. emotions can destabilize the community and fragmented, or they can fragments better cooperation and energetic striving to justice. emotions are not just hardwired. they are shaped in countless ways by social context and norms. that's good news and means we have considerable room to shape the emotions of our own political culture. it's also bad news for the lazy and on inquisitive.
it means we need to inquire into the nature a few, disgust, hope and love. thinking about how we might shape them so they will support democratic aspirations rather than eroding them. we cannot avoid accountability by saying, sorry, that is just how people are. there is nothing inevitable or natural about racial hatred, fear of immigrants, a passion to subordinate woman. we did this, all of us. we can and must undo it. in short, we need to know ourselves and take responsibility for ourselves. it is incumbent on a decent society to give attention to how group hatred can be minimized by social efforts and institutional
design. even a straightforward policy choice as to when to mainstream children with disabilities in so-called normal classrooms has consequences for patterns of fear and aggression. we need to study the issues and then on the basis of what we understands, choose the policy that produce hope, love and cooperation and avoid those with hatred and discuss. sometimes we can only produce better behavior while it shows beneath the surface. sometimes we can actually alter
how people see one another and how they feel as mainstreaming kids with disabilities surely has done. it helps to start young. philosophy doesn't dictate concrete policy choices, these must be contextual, the fruit of a partnership between philosophy history political science and sociology, but it gives us a sense of who we are, what problems lie in our path and where we should be heading. it's methods involving respect and reciprocity also model some important aspects of where we should be going. i believe it's not too strange or bold to link the philosophical approach to america's problem with the method of nonviolent political change as exemplified in the life and work of martin luther king jr. who figures largely in this book. some approaches are violent, angry and contentious of the opponent. king insisted by contrast on an attitude of others that he called love, even when what he
was doing was to make an extremely vigorous protest against unjust conditions. still, he said we must approach even our opponents, not with anger, but with love. he immediately stress this. it wasn't romantic love and didn't even need to like the people, the love he demanded was a combination of respect for humanity with goodwill and hope. we treat people as people who think and listen, who ultimately may join together with us in building something beautiful. philosophy is a practice here shares that project and that hope. thank you. [applause]
[inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> first of all, you have to call them out. aristotle wrote the rhetoric in order to give ordinary people the tools to look at the views and historians who i talk about in the book, he gives many terrible examples of the manipulative use of frederick to show people what bad things are in store. in the book for example i systematically contrast our current president's way of manipulating fear with not a
democrat, and trying with george w. bush who, after 9/11 when everyone was terrified he said, we are going after some criminals, we are not at war with islam and we do not demonize entire religion or people. he created an archive that exists to look at his statements on this issue so everyone know that he said this and said it repeatedly. i think we need that kind of leader but when somebody does the other thing, call them out the week and called out malcolm x. malcolm x. was a popular guy for a while. maybe king underrated him in some ways but his desire was to manipulate anger and create violence. king repeatedly said, that is not what is going to produce lasting change. so we have to get involved and
get into the activity of politics and do it ourselves one way or the other other. in my city last saturday, father flagger is a white priest who works in the african-american community. he's a great leader for antiracism. there is a big demonstration where he shut down a major highway to protest against gun violence. he actually persuaded the mayors to go along with it. and to say this is a good thing to do, to draw attention to this issue. it was a celebration of unity and determination to confront this problem. there is great power and leaders who appeal to love, faith and work. we need to get behind them and then criticize the other ones. and run for office.
>> is it a form of fear that resulted in rural white america electing donald trump? >> of course the election was close and he lost the popular vote, there's probably a hundred things that produce the result, i think one is misogyny. i have a whole chapter on that because i think a lot of the bad emotions, anger, envy and discussed crystallized and get knotted up together in many americans attitude. i think the problem several white americans are real. they don't come from immigrants, they come from things like automation outsourcing. the increased cost of higher education. to keep up your living standard
anymore education. we have to solve those problems. it was quite right for both hillary clinton and bernie sanders to look at higher education and costs. and the question of automation and outsourcing are more difficult and no one quite knows what to do. but these are the problems and the problems are not immigrants, they're not women, and they're certainly not african-american. it is so easy to teach people that you can demonize a powerless group and inflict pain on them. i say in the book that our earliest fairytales have this structure. they depict people who are helpless and have a problem and then they learn to pin it on some ugly villain. so canceling gretel are hungry, their parents don't have time to take care of the children so
they go in the woods to forage for food. and then the story says the real problem is not hunger and manual labor, the problem is the witch and she turns kids into gingerbread. so you push that which into the oven and then it's fine. that's what's happening, and people's emotions are easily led in that direction. it seems so simple to just build a wall or put immigrant children in detention, and of course it doesn't solve any of the problems. but it makes people feel that kind of satisfaction. >> perhaps you got this with martin luther king calling for respect but has there been a another sense of dignity that trump tapped into that is part of this that has created the region envy?
>> i think that is fair. there's two different ways of thinking about dignity. one is a matter of relative status. therefore a zero-sum game. some people have the good things in life and you don't then this is where mv comes in. mv is a big part of the history of this country. we can see from hamilton and that brilliant at analysis in the musical that everyone is on relative status. hamilton wanted to actually do something and create something but many of the other people wanted to go for relative status. people are let in that direction. the thing about mv is to remember that we all have an inalienable human dignity equal and then to think, what would it
actually be to extend the to all of us. what are the things that threaten and make our lives not worthy of that human dignity we possess. that would be constructive thinking which is basically what my capability approach does. but trump is not calling on that, he's not thinking of us as equal barriers of human barrier who ought to have things like adequate education and healthcare that would support the desire that we all have to live a life worthy of that. he's calling on resentment and mv much more than on the real dignity. >> thank you, what about the role of utopia in our politics? are brexit, and make america great again in fact nostalgia
that has been packaged out of the flip side of the fear you described like bright shiny beacons of hope. hasn't the solvent delivered to us through the utopia of the internet? it seems to deny fear or deny skepticism by promoting social media as a united way of connecting people. >> i think there is a very strong tendency, especially in america to toward utopian thinking. partly because of the christians that people are brought up on. that is a particularly violent form of the which says, the righteous are going to destroy
and they are going to bring down their enemies, it's quite different than the christianity that king invoked which is peaceful and inegalitarian. there is this utopian thinking. i think for myself all utopian thinking is a recipe for disappointments, resentment and rage. if you go into a marriage expecting some kind of perfection and a prince charming, that's a recipe for a very bad relationship. and i think that is true in america that whenever it can be on the left or right. marxism was prone to utopian
thinking. and the socialism's of the 60s and 70s. they were utopian in a ridiculous way. even some of the ways of the feminist movement that would say things like women will never be competitive or to anything bad to each other. so part of being a liberal means and incrementalist that we want things to be better and we don't expect perfection, that is why we gave the narrative of the 1950s. i think my students have a short sense of history. they think of the era of obama as a golden age, which of course it wasn't. our legal aid clinic was working long hours on the children and immigration did and under that administration. so, nothing was perfect. one can certainly think things were getting better. the idea that america was
getting perfect. who could live here and thinks it's a post- racial society. there was a naïveté about that utopias them. the flipside is that this eschatology that the demons are upon us. if you read the novel so popular about those in the heartland who fight against those on the coast, it is the flipside of that. they think the trump forces are bearing down. by not talking to them, by not allowing anyone in the trump campaign to speak on the campus, that would just be her fire us and make us able to remain on earth as a righteous and fight off the demons but that's not
the way you solve problems. but of course i think gandhi was unrealistic when but you just engage with whoever is listening you engage with the electorate and you just try to prevail and that's better than thinking that somehow the last days are at hand. . . >> but there may be some distinction mac i think there
are huge distinction and look, those that have legitimate grievances and those that are directed at structural features that may or may not be the stability of the people that you have legitimate grievances. it may or may not be complicit. even with the great feminist. and if you go to play the blame game but one thing neither one should do one is to look backwards and who is to blame? so what will we do now? and then to get together and
to be in the spirit of trust and cooperation. so now let's talk about south africa for a minute. and i talked about nelson mandela but of course terribly asymmetrical they had feared to be displaced from the privilege that then it would not lead to violence. with this to be fully equal participants. so it is quite understandable they wanted will at getting rid of the rugby team into -- people.
and then even to say and then it isn't so productive so he had this amazing way to express that forward-looking trust when he got down for his car and went to recruit and said we oppose our trust. we expected him to say we hate you and your racist but with that expression of trust so deeply so that later when he dies and then when tears were rolling down his face.
so the expression and as that them so deeply. and then that is asymmetrical to begin with but to go forward that strategy to produce friendship and trust and cooperation in way as was all the way through and really do produce friendships and cooperations. so that doesn't mean letting go of legitimate man. demand. he only said vigorous and courageous protests was quite different from attributive anger you never let go of the demand for justice. you put your body on the line. but that's quite different from saying i hate you and i
want to kill you. so there is no simple answer how you deal with those situations where people have this legitimate demand and it is hard for them to express that trust. but yet you can see it happens in the end. >> so with that capability approach do you explore that potential relationship? >> actually what i didn't want to do. i didn't want to try to put too much into one book. so that is typecast in a certain way.
and it is a dirty word on the right. it is on the ninth circuit. and without those democrats and obama dropped him like a stone. and obama was very cool. but you would not have known that. so short bill ayres that im much more of a liberal but i didn't want the book small that it was linked to that normative view. so to get to the chapter about hope with this long list of practices they include theories of justice.
and that is what could offer us. but with that argument of the book should study them figure out the ones you want to stand for because it is very european because it talks about a comprehensive social safety net and healthcare or eldercare or so on but i think americans are not very receptive. they do try to say this much, as roosevelt said there is a strong link and not having those debilitating errors to spiral out of control i absolutely believe that. with that capability deprivation breeds that hunger
with envy and blame. and of course fear is the first but then it spirals into enviable people who have something and blame the ones who put it out of reach for you. i do believe that. except that general argument that you have to accept that particular theory of justice. >> i will tell you one story. a not-for-profit my book, i refer to theories of social justice those of which have what libertarians view as another but i found the
professor said to me why do you use this term social justice? they think it means socialist. i was so ascended by that. but that educated me and i thought with those capabilities it is a social democracy i want people to read the book i really want people on the right to read the book i better not say this is so closely tied to that particular theory. >> thank you for coming to d.c. is there anything other than beer that is primary or are our hopes only something we can transform ourselves? >> there are different theories but what i say is
here is around the minute a baby is born. for that with the meaningful. and then to talk about with this primal fear with care the child becomes gradually able to be concerned. but that is a delight in the world and then choose another object that fear is primary but in terms of evolution become part of the brain found in reptiles.
you have to be capable bowl to see things of another creature so dolphins, apes or whales. but elephants have compassion. actually there is a new book called mother's last kiss about the compassion of animals. dogs certainly but they all have fear. to move to what they want. it is linked to the part of the brain so that is the way it is dangerous and likely to get out of hand.
>> as a student and teacher to reflect mindfulness? on the power of this to build recognizing and gu addresses and those techniques that you have found that are similarly powerful? >> but to be mindfulness is a great dev ot and she tried to encourage me i thought i didn't know enough about it myself so i will have to explore but i myself find is
music actually i am a key listener and an amateur singer. there is another book in the works that is said to be called the republic of love. with the connection to enlightenment politics. i just finished writing the program note and that is the anti- here opera about a universe ruled by fear and is absolutely rigid and then to be fulfilled and of course mozart the pointed criticism of judeo-christian culture. and instead a voice comes out of nowhere say no. love will prevail they will
marry and rule. so this is very serious but it is absolutely amazing depiction of the republic taking over from the monarchy. mozart to me is so great. but it happened that the parts that i end up singing are the bad part like to revenge people. but you understand to do that within your body. and that is connected to mindfulness that we should think of the alternative. [applause]